Saturday, February 02, 2013

Iran Not Giving Up

This description of Iranian actions is interesting--if vague:

There are signs that Iran is sending growing numbers of people and increasingly sophisticated weaponry to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

One, Iran's actions recognize that Assad is going down without outside help.

But what weapons that are "more sophisticated" than what Syria has could Iran possibly be sending to Syria? Don't become confused about Iran's conventional military capabilities just because Iran periodically unveils some new "wonder weapon" their scientists have developed.

And in a coincidence after I wrote this but before I published this post, I see Iran has announced a new wonder weapon:

Iran on Saturday unveiled its newest combat jet, a domestically manufactured fighter-bomber that military officials claim can evade radar.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a ceremony broadcast on state TV that building the Qaher F-313, or Dominant F-313, shows Iran's will to "conquer scientific peaks."

I'm no expert, but based on its general shape and past Iranian wonder aircraft announcements, this looks like Iran took an old F-5 that Johnson and Nixon sold Iran; and the Iranians essentially put tail fins on it. More research went into the scary name than in any purported stealth characteristics.

Iran's military is in poor shape. I'd imagine Syria needs spare parts and consumables to sustain what they started the revolution with rather than new weapons.

And what are the "people" Iran is sending doing? Are they advising or leading the militias that Assad is setting up to bolster his exhausted army and intelligence agents? Or are they actually formed units? The latter seems unlikely since there is no way Iran could project sufficient light infantry forces to make a difference.

Or are they linked? Are the Iranians sending growing numbers of people to operate more sophisticated weapons? Which still doesn't answer the question of what those weapons could be.

Or did the Iranians send weapons to Assad more appropriate for killing rebels and civilians in a deal to allow Syria to send fairly useless anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah? Which Israel recently bombed, of course.

While Iran's help is frustratingly vague, it is clear that Iran is not giving up on Iran. Well they should try, since losing Syria would be a huge blow to Iran.

UPDATE: Much more on the Iran angle from Strategypage.

UPDATE: Strategypage also writes that the F-313 has been judged to be not a stealth plane and not even a plane at all--if you assume the quality of "flying" is required to be a "plane" rather than one of those kiddie rides outside a grocery store that you put quarters into and that will bounce your small child around for a bit.

And the picture I saw in the article first cited above must have been a photo of an earlier Iranian wonder weapons since these pictures are way different. But the conclusion that this isn't a plane let alone a stealth plane remains. I'm looking closely for the quarter slot.